Minnesota Child Support Calculator

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Court may increase support if combined income is more than $20,000.

Minnesota Child Support & Parenting Time Calculations

Minnesota child support is based on the total parenting time

Minnesota uses overnights in its child support formula to determine the amount of child support in your divorce case.

Besides income, parenting time totals are a key part of the Minnesota child support formula. Your parenting time directly affects your child support, whether you pay or receive.

Use the calculator above to instantly get an estimate of your support amount.

Most parenting time totals are estimates (and thus incorrect)

Minnesota attorneys and judges often rely on parenting time estimates only, even if they are incorrect, because counting total hours is tedious and time consuming. Divorcing parents often rely on these estimates as well.

Using estimates means your parenting time totals are wrong when compared to your actual parenting time schedule. This means your child support amount will not be fair or exact.

How to calculate parenting time instead of relying on estimates

To calculate parenting time, the easiest and most accurate way is to use software. Without software, you're forced to count each hour for a whole year, which is error-prone when you include alternating holidays, summer break, and any changes to the schedule throughout the year.

Using software, you can also tweak your schedule to see how even little changes affect your total visitations, and you can see how your parenting time totals change each year due to holidays and other events.

You can also track what actually happens, and show how much parenting time you've actually received for any period of time. Historical information is a powerful tool when you request a child support modification or when you request more parenting time.

Fast facts on Minnesota child support

In any divorce, Minnesota family courts award custody of the children to one or both parents. Custody is divided into legal custody and physical custody. The total parenting time factors into the child support formula for both sole and joint custody.

Minnesota sole physical custody: The children reside with and are supervised by the residential parent, while the other parent is entitled to scheduled visitations. In Minnesota, sole physical custody is given to the parent with whom the children spend the most time.

Minnesota shared physical custody: Each parent has significant periods of physical custody, which allows them frequent and continuing contact with their children. Minnesota law outlines shared custody as any arrangement in which the child has regular and continuing contact with both parents.   

Minnesota child support formula and parenting time adjustment

Minnesota family courts use formulas that consider both parents' incomes and the needs of the child to arrive at a monthly child support amount.  A parenting time adjustment is given based on the total parenting time each parent is scheduled for.

Sole and shared custody formula: The total income between the two parents is put into the formula and then a basic monthly support is figured by using the Minnesota Child Support Guidelines. Certain deductions are allowed when figuring total income.

Minnesota uses a parenting expense adjustment formula for both sole and shared custody cases that provides incremental changes in child support for each overnight. The formula uses each parent’s basic support and each parent’s annual overnights averaged over two years to produce a number which gives both the support amount and identifies which parent will owe support.

Examples of sole and shared child custody and Minnesota child support

Consider the hypothetical case of Robert and Mary. Robert grosses $4,000 per month, while Mary grosses $2,400 per month. They have two children.

See how the child support amounts change in these examples:

  • Scenario #1: Robert is the nonresidential parent in this sole custody case, and is scheduled to host the children for about 20 overnights per year. He pays $631 in child support to Mary.
  • Scenario #2:  Robert is the nonresidential parent and hosts the children for 90 overnights, about 25% of the year. He pays $597 in child support to Mary.
  • Scenario #3: Mary is the nonresidential parent and hosts the children for 150 overnights. She pays $123 in child support to Robert.
  • Scenario #4: If Robert and Mary agreed to a 50/50 split and both earned the same amount, $4,000, there would be no child support paid or received because there is no net difference.
  • Scenario #5: Robert hosts the children for 198 overnights, or about 55% percent of the time. He pays $0 in child support to Mary.

To avoid a situation where a custodial parent is paying support to a noncustodial parent, there is a presumption of a $0 basic support obligation for a parent with 55% parenting time.

Other factors in the Minnesota child support formula

Minnesota's child support formula uses the following information to calculate your monthly amounts for shared custody child support:

Eligible children: The Minnesota Statute (518.54 Subsection 2) specifies that child support will be paid for all children under age 18, or age 20 if the child still attends a secondary school. Termination of child support occurs at age 20 or upon graduation from secondary school.

Gross earnings: Gross earnings are established based on tax records and current pay stubs. Minnesota law requires the use of both parents' incomes from the equivalent of one full-time job to determine a child support amount.

Specific deductions: There are some deductions allowed by Minnesota family courts that allow an adjustment of the income, including health insurance premiums for the children, support for other children and child care expenses, for example.

How accurate child support helps your children

Paying accurate child support helps your children in several ways, primarily because it ensures their financial needs are met.

Here are some other reasons why accurate parenting time numbers help you, the other parent and your children:

  • It provides a fair way to determine your child support amounts
  • It guarantees the child support amount reflects each parent's responsibilities
  • It allows for modifications if your actual time and scheduled time are different
  • It is compliant with Minnesota law

Your financial obligations to your children don't end with divorce, so whether you are paying or receiving child support, you owe it to your children to pay or receive the proper amount.

Top 5 things to remember about Minnesota child support and overnights

To ensure you are paying or receiving the right amount of child support in Minnesota, remember these 5 things:

  1. The child support amount is determined using guidelines established under state law in the Minnesota. Stat. 518A.26-34. These guidelines are based on the monthly net income of both parents.
  2. Health care expenses and day care costs for children can be deducted from the total income of both parents to arrive at an accurate amount from which to base child support.
  3. Minnesota uses a formula for sole and shared custody cases that provides incremental changes in child support for each overnight.
  4. If parents with shared physical custody agree to a 50/50 split on parenting time, the higher earning parent makes child support payments to the lower earning parent.

Use Custody X Change software to create a custody schedule that will quickly calculate the total parenting time for the Minnesota child support formula.

As you negotiate what kind of joint custody schedule will best fit your needs, the software will accurately calculate your parenting time percentage.